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Friends of Madera Animal Shelter needs your help

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Chelsie Burkhalter, left, and Diana Frazier of Friends of Madera Animal Shelter are informing the community that they are currently out of spay and neuter vouchers and in need of funding.


For the past 20 years, the Friends of the Madera County Animal Shelter (FMAS) have been providing low cost and free spay and neuter vouchers for the county.

However, the FMAS has been struggling to find additional grants, donations or other fundings and the spay and neuter account has been dwindling.

A couple of weeks ago, the FMAS Board voted to discontinue writing any additional vouchers.

When the FMAS received an endowment from the Red and Nancy Arnold Foundation, FMAS was able to spay and neuter 18,000 animals to help control the community’s animal population.

“The spay/neuter program really curbs the population,” said FMAS Executive Director Becky Koop. “Breeding season is in the spring. It’s about every six months. If we can’t do something before spring, its will be really sad.”

Now, Koop and the FMAS is asking the community for any help in its spay and neuter voucher program.

“We are focusing on our adoption efforts,” Koop said. “We are working on a winter fundraiser with an online auction. We are hoping that we can appeal to the county and the city in some manner.”

Koop has been at the helm for just two months and is doing what she can to re-start the voucher program.

“This is my second month on the job,” she said. “I’m still learning. From what I understand, everything has been donation-based. Helping with the stray animal population and the things we’re doing with ferel cat population, it can be under their purview, as well. We are spending $12,000 a month on spay/neuter vouchers.”

In addition to fundraisers, Koop is trying to find different ways to help with the voucher program.

“We’re applying for grants,” she said. “We are reaching out to the casinos. we are looking at other rescue possibilities for other ideas, including providing food for our pets so we can adjust our funds we are spending on that. When they did that grant, they were able to fix 18,000 animals. Every thing else has been sustained by donations and fund raising efforts.”

One way FMAS is trying to bring in donations is by hosting an online auction.

“We still have to come up with a date,” she said. “We are looking for donations. We have a few people working on that.”

Koop is also turning to social media to help create buzz and bring in donations.

“We have someone that came on board creating TikToks and working with our social media accounts,” she said. “We want to build our following to get more local support.”

This summer, the FMAS had catalytic converters taken from a few of their vans. Thanks to donations from the community, they were able to get the vans repaired.

“We had to use some of our maintenance fund to fix the vans that had the catalytic converter stolen,” she said. “We did get some local donations. Pistoresi Ambulance gave us a significant donation. We had some local businesses help cover that cost.”

Koop is hoping for the same reaction to the news her group needs donations to keep the spay and neuter voucher program going.

“It just warms the heart,” she said. “We’re in it to make a difference in the community. When other people have a similar mindset, it’s just wonderful of the things you can accomplish.”

Koop has only been in the job for two months, but she is doing what she can to make a difference in the Madera community.

“My feet are wet,” she said. “It’s been a trial under fire. I still have a lot to learn. I have my heart in it and will try to do my best.”

Koop said there are plenty of avenues for people to donate to the Friends of the Madera County Animal Shelter.

“Off our website (, we have a PayPal account,” she said. “We will be creating a CashApp and Venmo account. They can allocate the donations to whatever they want. They can specify where they want the money to go to.”


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